Toward the Unknown (1956)

Approved  |   |  Drama, History, Romance  |  October 1956 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 356 users  
Reviews: 30 user | 5 critic

At the dawn of supersonic flight in the 1950s a group of Edwards Air Force Base experimental aircraft test pilots push themselves to the limit.



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Complete credited cast:
Maj. Lincoln Bond
Brig. Gen. Bill Banner
Virginia Leith ...
Connie Mitchell
Col. 'Mickey' McKee
Maj. Bromo Lee
Lt. Gen. Bryan Shelby
Lt. Col. Joe Craven
2nd Lt. Sweeney
Polly Craven
Bartlett Robinson ...
Senator Black
Hank - Bell Technical Rep.
Ralph Moody ...
Harvey Gilbert
Maura Murphy ...
Sarah McKee
Carol Kelly ...


USAF Major Lincoln Bond is captured, tortured and released from a POW camp in Korea. After the war he returns to the US where he is re-assigned as a test pilot at the Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base. The Air Force is testing the new experimental aircraft Gilbert XF-120 fighter. The acceptance of the new aircraft by the Air Force is dependent on successful tests designed to prove the aircraft's reliability and safety. However, when Major Bond flies the prototype he encounters a problem that points out a dangerous structural flaw. This could threaten the aircraft's acceptance by the Air Force and derail the whole project. Major Bond's commanding officer and some of his colleagues start to suspect that Major Bond is imagining things because of his mental condition dating back to his imprisonment and torture in the Korean POW camp. Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


THE SCREEN HAS NEVER SHOWN WHAT YOU'LL SEE IN TOWARD THE UNKNOWN (original print ad - all caps) See more »


Drama | History | Romance | War


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

October 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Einst kommt die Stunde  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The scene with William Holden losing control and tumbling in the X-2 is depicted with actual footage from test pilot Chuck Yeager's 70,000-foot freefall in the Bell X-1A in 1953. See more »


Early in the film when Bond observes General Banner crash his aircraft, it's referred to as an "F-102". In reality the hulk that Banner is pulled from is a Convair XF-92, the experimental predecessor to the F-102 Delta Dagger. See more »


Brig. Gen. Bill Banner: [to Maj. Lincoln Bond] Even with torture, you're not the kind to crack.
See more »


Referenced in The Story of Esther Costello (1957) See more »


The U.S. Air Force
by Robert Crawford
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User Reviews

Realistic portrayal of supersonic flight
24 August 2001 | by (New Salem, NY) – See all my reviews

This is one good film, with great performances by William Holden and Lloyd Nolan. Also James Garner's film debut. It seems to have disappeared here in the US, although I understand it's shown occasionally in Britain. Filmed at a real airbase, it looks authentic enough that you can almost smell the jet fuel. Great history lesson on the beginning of rocket flight. The only knock is Virginia Leith, who must be one of the most untalented actresses in Hollywood history. Even scene she's in brings the film down. But Holden is, as always, great.

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